Shopping amazon on a phone

Mobile Screen Sharing for Competitor Research

It was the ancient Greeks who coined the expression “know thyself,” wise words for any entrepreneur. Remarkably, at nearly the same point in time but halfway across the world, the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote in his treatise The Art of War that it was equally important to “know thine enemy.”

From a commercial standpoint, this might be read as the first law of competitor research. But competitor research is in a state of flux. Customers frequent different marketplaces, have different needs, and purchase according to different criteria.

Facing unprecedented rates of change, it can be hard for market researchers to keep up. Luckily, mobile UX research empowers researchers to gauge the efficacy of new concepts with the help of real, everyday consumers. Moreover, Discuss’s screen-sharing technology provides a host of benefits that enable qualitative researchers to obtain critical data on target market behavior.

How? Let’s start with the basics.

With the advent of e-commerce giants like Amazon, decades of product placement wisdom have been rendered obsolete. As 87% of U.S. consumers conduct product searches online, it’s no longer about where products sit on physical shelves — its about standing out from the competitors crowding the digital aisles. When a customer wants a set of headphones, how do they choose one from among hundreds of Amazon-presented alternatives?

Mobile screen sharing allows moderators to follow a customer’s shopping experience firsthand. Researchers can record which products attract immediate attention, how long a customer studies a product before purchasing (or rejecting), and which factors influence the ultimate buying decision. Better yet, moments of interest can be marked within the video for easy return access in subsequent discussions.

Shopping on a phone while drinking coffee

However, some services do not lend themselves to e-commerce marketplace; rather, they rely on individual visits to tailored websites. Upon such visits, consumers are bombarded with information and signals. Some, like ease of navigation, are consciously digested; others, like color scheme or apparent modernity, may not be, but they remain crucial to consumer perceptions.

In any case, consumers often visit multiple websites before choosing a firm or product. Which factors attract them to some businesses but repel them from others?

This is where mobile screen sharing comes into its own. With such a tool at the researcher’s fingertips, moderators can interview real users in real time, prompting them to examine why they linger on product A but not product B, what makes this website navigable while another is not, which key questions are answered in the copy of website X but remain murky in the case of website Y.

Key questions that can get answered:

  • How does the content compare in terms of  Images, descriptions,  and reviews?
  • What decision criteria goes into product selection for the consumer?
  • What does the consumer find appealing about the competitor? What gives them pause?
  • What features does the competitor’s product have that most appeal to the consumer?
  • Where are competitors being clear where you are not?
  • Is the competitor’s pricing structure more attractive than others?
  • Are the competitor’s user flows appealing to the consumer?
  • Can the consumer identify any pain points in the competitor’s UX?
  • Does the competitor offer any additional incentives to purchase (ie. free shipping, discount for multiple purchases, etc.)?

Looking at a phone while typing on a laptop

Thus, moderators can observe how consumers perceive competing brands, drawing qualitative insights about their competitors’ strong points (which they can copy) or weaknesses (which they can seek to surpass).

The conclusion? There’s no need to fear change. Designed by market researchers for market researchers, Discuss has all the tools you need to find, analyze, and outshine the competition.

To see mobile screen sharing in action, see our video interview with Unilever


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